- Since the reopening of our borders the Lufthansa Group has offered some of the most affordable Business Class and Premium Economy airfares from New Zealand to the UK and Europe.
- Lufthansa Group flights between New Zealand and the “halfway” point are with strategic partner airlines such as Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines.
- Routes are available via North America and Asia. The range of alternative routes provides Fine Travel clients with greater selection if plans change last minute.
- An extensive European network allows for more direct travel to visit family, friends or clients in non-main centres.
- A strategic partnership with United Airlines allows for an additional domestic flight within the US at no extra cost.
- The Lufthansa Group is a Star Alliance member and therefore Air New Zealand Airpoints can generally be earned.
- The Business Class and Premium Economy cabins are being progressively refurbished (more images below).
The new travel environment
While we waited for international travel to resume, we shared our thoughts about the importance flexibility would play in our role as travel agents booking airfares to destinations like the UK / Europe when international travel resumed. At a time when memories of snap border closures were fresh, planning for this risk was important, as a border closure could ground all flights for airlines like Emirates (via Dubai), Singapore Airlines (via Singapore) or Qatar Airways (via Doha) leaving passengers stranded.
Fortunately, snap border closures did not become part of the post pandemic travel environment. Instead, limited aircraft capacity, overwhelmed airports and crew illness became the challenge. For our clients who needed to travel to the UK / Europe at the last minute, or return home early, or who had to delay because of illness, the limited capacity was a real challenge. Airline schedule changes (primarily brought on by workforce disruptions) also presented a significant challenge as the alternatives offered were often unpalatable.
Flexibility and alternatives became the name of the game and for this reason the Lufthansa Group has been one of our most popular airline choices since New Zealand’s borders reopened.
Although Lufthansa was not immune to disruptions (or making the life of a travel agent harder than it needed to be), when a change is required, the flexibility offered by the extensive Lufthansa Group route network provides our clients with more alternatives than the other main carriers. The Lufthansa Group also has a representative in New Zealand (that Fine Travel has a longstanding relationship with) which makes it easier to problem solve should the need arise.
About the Lufthansa Group
The Lufthansa Group primarily comprises three airlines that operate from different European hubs:
Lufthansa – Munich and Frankfurt
Swiss Air – Zurich
Austrian Air – Vienna
Extensive route network
Perhaps Lufthansa Group’s greatest asset in the current environment is the number of routes it has negotiated with strategic partners. Rather than flying to New Zealand, the Lufthansa Group has arrangements with Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. When it comes to flexibility between New Zealand and the “half-way” transit points, Lufthansa has it in spades.
Routes can include:
- Flying Air New Zealand to / from mainland North America - and then connecting with Lufthansa to the UK / Europe
- Flying Air New Zealand to / from its Asian hubs and then connecting with Lufthansa to the UK / Europe
- Flying Singapore Airlines to / from Singapore and then connecting with Lufthansa to the UK / Europe
- Flying Air New Zealand or Cathay Pacific to / from Hong Kong and then connecting with Lufthansa to the UK / Europe
This range of alternatives also means that your outbound route doesn’t need to be the same as your return route. You may decide to fly with Air New Zealand to Vancouver and then to the UK / Europe but come home via Singapore. As Air New Zealand adds routes (such as the direct flight from Auckland to New York) these can be incorporated into Lufthansa Group airfares.
The Lufthansa Group’s extensive European network means that you aren’t limited to flying into major capital cities. This makes it ideal for trips to see family who live outside the main centres or to visit clients.
…within the United States
Within the United States, the Lufthansa Group’s strategic relationship with United Airlines allows for a free domestic connection within the US. So if you have family (or clients) in say San Francisco, you could fly Air New Zealand to San Francisco, connect with United Airlines to New York (again to visit family, friends, clients or to explore) and then connect with Lufthansa to the UK / Europe.
Responding to Disruptions
Against a background of disruption, the Lufthansa Group has advantages over some of its competitors and strategic partners. If your travel plans change or are disrupted and you need to come home early, for example to care for a sick relative, we have the flexibility to look for availability across the full range of Lufthansa alternatives rather than being limited to the single routes operated by most airlines that fly to New Zealand.
There is an extra stop
One disadvantage of the Lufthansa Group (when compared to Emirates or Singapore Airlines) is that there is generally one more stop as part an itinerary to popular destinations like London. A flight to London is all on the same itinerary, and your bags will be checked all the way through, but more time is involved.
Cheaper Business Class and Premium Economy Prices with Lufthansa
In our article Does Cheaper Business Class mean missing out we addressed the concern that discounted Business Class airfares may mean the loss of Business Class benefits. In the context of Lufthansa working with strategic partners out of New Zealand, you do not become a “second class citizen”. Your check-in and onboard experience is the same as passengers booked directly with Air New Zealand or Singapore airlines.
Star Alliance Membership
The Lufthansa Group is a Star Alliance member so you will generally earn membership points for your flights. For Air New Zealand Airpoints, as the Lufthansa Group is a partner airline Airpoints and Status Points are generally earned at a lower rate – you can read more on the Star Alliance section of the Air New Zealand website.
Upgrading the Lufthansa Premium Cabins
Lufthansa is introducing a new premium product on long-haul routes under the name "Allegris" in all travel classes (i.e. Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First Class). “Allegris” has been developed exclusively for the Lufthansa Group.
The Lufthansa Business Class of the "Allegris" generation offers six more seating options with the highest level of comfort. Passengers have direct access to the aisle from all Business Class seats. The seat walls, which are at least 114 centimetres high, with generous space in the shoulder area, ensure greater privacy. All seats can be converted into a two-meter-long bed.
Passengers can enjoy the in-flight entertainment program on monitors measuring nearly 17 inches. Wireless charging, noise-cancelling headphones and the ability to connect one’s own devices, such as a PC, tablet, smartphone, or headphones, to the entertainment system, via Bluetooth, are also part of the new Allegris Business Class experience.
More than 100 new Lufthansa Group aircraft, such as Boeing 787-9s, Airbus A350s and Boeing 777-9s, will fly to destinations around the world with the new “Allegris” service. Additionally, aircraft already in service with Lufthansa, such as the Boeing 747-8, will be converted.